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How to See New York City for the First Time

Last updated: May 5, 2018

If you’ve never been there before New York City can be overwhelming for a lot of reasons. Between the sheer number of human beings all in one place, the infinite number of things to do, the unbelievably frenzied pace, the noise, the chaos, and the fact that none of it ever seems to stop, being there can feel more like a job than a vacation. Here, our members sort out the things every first-timer should know, from how to get around to how to take a break.

How to get around the city:

One of the first things every newbie to the city should know is how to get around. Once you have that more or less figured out, everything else will be a lot easier.

“It’s a huge city, but the subway is quite safe and easy to use once you get the hang of it. There are information booths on all subway stations. Ask.”
“I've used both buses (not the hop-on buses) and the subway to get around, though I've mainly walked and walked.”
“First tip is to buy yourself a Metrocard for use on the subway and buses. Get yourself a 7-day unlimited card for $32 (including the cost of the card) and you can ride the subway/buses as much as you wish. if you use the subway 13 times, it pays to get the 7-day card vs. paying as you go. Study the subway map as someone noted. The subway is a very inexpensive and easy way to get around the city.”
“The one thing you absolutely do not want in NYC is a car: public transit is good, traffic is not, and parking fees will only add to your expenses.”
“You certainly don't need to hire a car in Manhattan - the traffic is pretty nightmarish and I can't imagine parking is easy. Take the subway, or the iconic yellow taxis if you need which are pretty reasonably priced by big city standards.”
“The largest yellow taxi carries 5 passengers, but most carry 4. nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/faq/fa...
“There is a 52USD flat rate charge for taxis from JFK to Midtown, to which you must add tip and possibly tolls: panynj.gov/airports/jfk-taxi...

I always stay in Midtown. The last time I used a taxi, in 2013, I gave the driver 60USD and he was perfectly happy with that. Last year I used the Airtrain and then the Long Island Railway, which is a heck of a lot cheaper (around 12USD, as I recall) and very easy indeed. I'll be doing that again later this summer. But I took a taxi from JFK on my first few trips to NYC and do understand why you might want to. Make sure you go to the taxi dispatcher in Arrivals (it's very obvious) and wait your turn for a proper yellow taxi. Do *not* take up any offers made by the rogue taxis who hang around.”
“I save by taking the train in from JFK - take the Airtrain from all terminals and connect (Jamaica) to the LIRR into Grand Central Terminal at West 34th Street (midtown). I believe the train connection is $12.-$15.”

Some basic attractions you should hit:

While everyone wants to see a few “Off the beaten path” locations, it would be a shame to come to New York and not see at least a few iconic attractions. Here, Trippy members tell us about their favorites:

“Divide and conquer is your best bet. One day I'd devote to the hop on/off double decker bus - great way to see the city and get some insight. You can get off at locations which may interest you, stroll a bit and get back on and continue on. I'd devote one entire day to Times Square area, Theaters, etc., One day to walk and stroll through Central Park and visit the MOMA and Museum of Natural History. Another day to visit Battery Park, Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, Financial district, etc.”
“I love walking, so I really enjoy Central Park. I also love Greenwich Village. Ellis Island was, for me, very personal and very moving.”
“I do recommend that you walk the High Line if you can. It's a very pleasant walk indeed, well away from the city hustle and bustle. Do take the free Staten Island ferry for views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan shoreline.”
“If you need to chill, Central Park is wonderful. Grab a sandwich from a deli and go picnic and people watch for a couple of hours.”
“I especially recommend the Lower East Side Tenement Museum if you want to get an idea of the city's past (but be sure to book in advance). And the Top of the Rock, both by day and at night.”
“Also, leave time in your schedule just to wander. I like the West Village and Meatpacking District and of course Greenwich Village is a must!”
“Central Park is just perfect in spring! I just got back from NY and Central park is my favorite place to be. Also, Staten Island Ferry is very cool. It is free, so there is no reason not to go.”
“If you plan to visit the Statue of Liberty/Broadway shows/9/11 Memorial Museum, you need to try to get tickets NOW. They sell out months in advance.”
“Remember that NYC includes not only Manhattan but 4 other boroughs. Take the train into Brooklyn and explore DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights/Boerum Hill/Brooklyn Bridge Park & the Brooklyn promenade and the great views of the NYC skyline. Then walk the Brooklyn Bridge back towards the city. Central Park/Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park/Prospect Park (in Brooklyn) are great places to go and wander around. -Times Square is a must see at night for a first-time visitor. You don't need to eat there however. Head further up towards Hell's Kitchen for some of the best places to eat in NYC.”
“Museums are wonderful...or Central Park...Ellis Island...Little Italy...East Village...”
“Visit Empire State Building (once oldest and still best), Time Square and shops, Central Park, Wall Street, Statue of Liberty, double decker Washington bridge/Manhattan Bridge/Brooklyn Bridge, Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, Coney Island.”
“SNL tickets are only available by lottery the August of the upcoming year. For the 2016-2017 season tickets were drawn in August of this year. 2017-2018 season tickets will go into the lotto August of 2017.

NYC has never ending possibilities. I find something new to do each time I visit. I usually stay on Broadway as we're into theater and never tire of taking the red bus tour - a good way to meet other tourists. We usually get off at Battery Park and walk back - a good 3+ hours of leisure stroll which will take you through Little Italy, China Town, Financial District and other fascinating neighborhoods.

Just taking a leisure couple of hours stroll through Central Park is a good way to meet people and can be gorgeous depending on the season.

Whether you get to actually play at Rucker Park is quite dependent on how busy it is. It is rather clique and if it's busy (most times) you might just end up sitting and watching as they take their games seriously. Also, there may be an actual competition going on.”
“After Rucker Park I'd recommend taking the 3 to Sylvia's, Red Rooster or the Harlem Shake. All are very friendly and social. MOMA is great & the Brooklyn Museum and gentrified area around the Barkley Center are young with a lot to see and do.”
“If you enjoy live music- head for Greenwich Village.”
“A few ideas: don't miss Central Park and the wonderful Metropolitan Museum, take the free Staten Island ferry for excellent views of the city skyline (and distant ones of the Statue of liberty), walk the High Line, visit Times Square and go up the Empire State & 'Top of the Rock' if you want.”
“Free places: Central Park, Staten Island Ferry, Metropolitan Museum, The High Line, St Paul's Chapel, The Irish Hunger Memorial”
“As for top 5 places, these are the top iconic must see/do attractions in NYC, expecially first timers.:
1. Empire State Bldg Observation Deck. This offers unparalleled views of the city and kids of all ages love it.
2. American Museum of Natural History. Near the top of every list, this museum is a magnet and its Dinosaur Halls are amongst the best in the world, if not the entire world.
3. Statue of Liberty. A visit here to see lady liberty has to be one of those iconic things to see and do.
4. Metropolitan Museum of Art
5. Rockefeller Center”
“- Staten Island ferry gets you a view of the Statue of Liberty at a distance.
- Rock Center
- South Street Seaport/Bryant Park
- Grand Central (there is also a pretty good food court on the lower level.)
- Take the subway to High Street/Brooklyn bridge in Brooklyn. Check out the view from the Brooklyn Promenade and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge towards the city.
- Central Park.
- Xmas lights at the major department stores (Saks/Bloomingdale's/Macy's/Lord & Taylor/Bergdorf/etc.)”
“Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; Empire state building; Rockefeller center; I enjoyed the baseball at Yankee stadium (but I'd never been before as I am a limey!) Chinatown”

What to expect of New York City:

As you’ll see from the minute you arrive, there are some things New Yorkers just sort of . . . know. Like how quickly to walk, how to avoid traffic, or even how to plan the day. Here, our members fill you in on a little of those secrets!

“I love NY, none other like it - only behind Hong Kong which I think is like NYC on steroids!”
“New York is really not that much different to all the big world cities. Just be careful with your possessions and be aware of your surroundings at all times.”
“I felt much the same on my first visit. NYC is not somewhere I would have chosen to visit but I have to do so at least once a year. I find the city huge, noisy, crowded and sometimes rather grubby but I don't feel actively unsafe there. I use normal city commonsense but, because I am a solo middle-aged female, am probably more wary about where I go and what I do than I might be if I had a companion. I trust my instincts.”
“I would say, relax and enjoy. NYC is possibly my favourite city but it is a bit manic and can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you're not used to big cities. It's best not to fight it but just let yourself be a bit swept up in it all.”
“If you are rather anxious, I suggest that you avoid traveling during the morning or afternoon rush hour. Get started after 9:00 AM and be in a museum, park or site from 4 until 6 in the afternoon. Study the MTA map and locate the sights you must see in advance. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time, enjoy!”
“- Get an early start every day so that you can maximize you time in NYC. Get out and just explore many of the places already mentioned.
- Depending on your budget, you can eat at "high end" places or at places that won't "break the bank." NYC has loads of places to eat within your budget.
- Ask if you feel you are unsure where to go/walk/etc. Just stop someone and ask. Especially if you are on the subway. You can't get lost. But don't just "think" you are going in the right direction if you are not sure.
- NYC is a busy city. People walk fast. Order (at stores, etc.) fast. Etc. Be prepared for that.
- Check the weather 2 days before you arrive so that you pack the right attire.
- As noted, give yourself time to wander. Don't have a schedule that has you running from A to B to C.
- Make a list of places that you have to see/visit, and would like to see. Start there.”
“I live only 3 hrs. from NYC. I still go in for small doses. I like to concentrate on one area, section, event, etc. Too much to do all at once. Try to keep your focus.”
“Some months are much more expensive than others(September is expensive, February-not as much.)”
“You certainly cannot be a 'real New Yorker', in just the same way as a visitor to Paris cannot be a 'real Parisian'. Accept that fact and enjoy exploring the city as a visitor.”
“big city precautions apply like watch your pockets, keep to busy areas - but even the subway from Little Italy at midnight was no more intimidating than London.”
“Remember that almost every meal (other than fast food & takeaways) has to have a tip added 20% or so, and that prices on display in shops do not include taxes (they are added at the till). The same applies to your accommodation: taxes will be added when you checkout.”
“Book tickets for attractions such as the Statue of Liberty/9/11 Museum/Broadway shows in advance. They can sell out at any time.”
“When using the subway:
- Let the people off the train before you get on.
- No bags, etc. on empty seats.
- When exiting the station, don't stop at the top/bottom of the stairs trying to get your bearings.
- When using escalators(anywhere), stay to the right going up or down. The left side is the "express' side and people will be walking up/down.
- Have your Metrocard out before getting to the turnstile.”

Where to Stay in New York City

“Note that the majority of apartment rentals for less than 30 days are illegal in NYC and some are outright scams.”
“Airbnb/apartment is not a good idea in NYC. Legal issues and scam issues. Do not go that route.”

Related Links



Here's the original discussion:



a VirtualTourist member asked on Nov 10, 2016

New York City

Traveling to NYC for the first time.

This is all an impromptu trip for me (I fly out tomorrow). But I am wondering what are some of the must do's that I can fit into a weekend? I'm not really trying to go to the ESB or the Statue of Liberty; I'm more wanting to catch a pick up game at Rucker Park and visit the MoMA, things with more culture and where I can meet people and interact. I'd love to see SNL if at all possible though. I am a 25 year old man, if that helps any, lol. Any suggestions are extremely welcomed. Cheers!

 



6 Answers


answered on 11/10/16 by
a VT member from Saint Petersburg

NYC is one the hugest megalopolises. That means whoever comes there will find things to do. Everything depends on your personal interests. I hope my experience would be useful:

[original VT link]

Have a nice trip. Oleg




answered on 11/10/16 by
a VT member from Miami

Hello and Welcome to VT

SNL tickets are only available by lottery the August of the upcoming year.
For the 2016-2017 season tickets were drawn in August of this year. 2017-2018 season tickets will go into the lotto August of 2017.

You can easily purchase tickets for the MOMA either at the door or on line:
moma.org/tickets/select?gcli...

NYC has never ending possibilities. I find something new to do each time I visit. I usually stay on Broadway as we're into theater and never tire of taking the red bus tour - a good way to meet other tourists. We usually get off at Battery Park and walk back - a good 3+ hours of leisure stroll which will take you through Little Italy, China Town, Financial District and other fascinating neighborhoods.
Just taking a leisure couple of hours stroll through Central Park is a good way to meet people and can be gorgeous depending on the season.

Whether you get to actually play at Rucker Park is quite dependent on how busy it is. It is rather clique and if it's busy (most times) you might just end up sitting and watching as they take their games seriously. Also, there may be an actual competition going on.
Are you good? Do you play a lot of Basketball?




answered on 11/10/16 by
a VT member

Thanks for the info! I play but I'm nowhere near the caliber to play at Rucker, playing would be an outrageous bonus, but I just plan to go and watch. I'm staying about a block away from Times Square so I should be in the thick of things, do you know anything about playing chess/checkers at central park?




answered on 11/10/16 by
a VT member

Thank you Oleg! Looks like you had a super interesting time!




answered on 11/10/16 by
a VT member from New York City

You should have a beautiful autumn weekend in NYC. After Rucker Park I'd recommend taking the 3 to Sylvia's, Red Rooster or the Harlem Shake. All are very friendly and social. MOMA is great & the Brooklyn Museum and gentrified area around the Barkley Center are young with a lot to see and do.




answered on 11/10/16 by
a VT member from Sydney

Hi

You might find a few ideas here..................scroll down page for tips

[original VT link]

If you enjoy live music- head for Greenwich Village

Times Square is a hub of activity

And the museums.............all are amazing






Here's a related discussion:



a VirtualTourist member asked on Jun 3, 2014

New York City

advices about new york

hello everybody !

i want to go to nyc next year with my family (3 childs , 2 adults) . i would like to have advices about good places , restaurants , shops and districts where i can go. i want to visit new york like a real new yorker .
thanks for your help , babaparis



8 Answers


answered on 6/3/14 by
a VT member from Atlanta

Lots of people ask this question and many good answers have already been given in the NYC forum.
And you can check out the many tips here:

[original VT link]

When you have specific questions come back and post them




answered on 6/3/14 by
a VT member from Brooklyn

I would first get a NYC travel guide/book(make sure it is a recent edition) and just look through it.
Pick places/attractions/etc that you:
-Must see
-Would like to see

Then just do research online. Google "NYC attractions" or something like that.

Then I would look into sorting out my hotel based on when you are coming. Note that the majority of apartment rentals for less than 30 days are illegal in NYC and some are outright scams.

Some months are much more expensive than others(September is expensive, February-not as much.)

Then I would work on a budget. NYC can actually be done without "breaking the bank."

Then, as Dave said, come back and ask specific questions....




answered on 6/3/14 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I agree. You certainly cannot be a 'real New Yorker', in just the same way as a visitor to Paris cannot be a 'real Parisian'. Accept that fact and enjoy exploring the city as a visitor.

Ask your wife and children what they particularly want to see and do...it matters. Build those ideas into your itinerary.

A few ideas: don't miss Central Park and the wonderful Metropolitan Museum, take the free Staten Island ferry for excellent views of the city skyline (and distant ones of the Statue of liberty), walk the High Line, visit Times Square and go up the Empire State & 'Top of the Rock' if you want.....

[original VT link]

Perhaps take advantage of the hop-on buses to explore and get a feel for (part of) the city? There are at least 2 options:

city-sightseeing.com/tours/u...

http://www.newyorksightseeing.com/




answered on 6/3/14 by
a VT member

when i say " visit like a real new yorker" , i mean "go on places which are not on the travels guides , discovers shops where new yorkers go" ...




answered on 6/3/14 by
a VT member from Atlanta

Read the "off the beaten path" and "shopping"sections of the NY travel Guide here on VT




answered on 6/3/14 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I agree. Those sections (look at the tabs on the travel guide) are where you'll find ideas for places which are less-frequently visited by ...erm...visitors. :-)




answered on 6/3/14 by
a VT member from New York City

How old are your children? What are their interests? What time of year do you plan on coming to NYC? Where are you from; what would be special here for you all? How much time do you have to spend? Budget?

We have teenagers & I posted Teen ideas for off the beatten path at: [original VT link]

There is so much to see and do in NYC; please provide more info...




answered on 6/3/14 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

Right: with three children along, their needs are going to be a BIG part of this trip. They may not be as interested in shopping as you are, or as interested in just anywhere "New Yorkers go" (but tourists do not) because they may not be geared for kids, or involve a considerable commute.

Time of year, budget, amount of days you'll have in NYC and your family's interests are very important parts of the plan. Your kids's ages are also a big factor.






Here's a related discussion:



a VirtualTourist member asked on Dec 7, 2014

New York City

First time in NYC

My family of 6 and I are traveling to NYC for the first time between the 13th-17th. Would it make more sense to rent a car or go on the subway? What area would be best (safety & budget) to rent a hotel in? and what are the top five places to absolutely see?(kids range from 10-17)



19 Answers


answered on 12/7/14 by
a VT member from Long Island

we really need a lot more information. where are you coming from and how is most important. that said, the one thing you do not need is a rental car. with arrival in less than a week, disappointed to hear you do not already have hotel set up. need an rough idea of your budget. that also has an effect on the top five things to see. there are plenty of free places to visit and others with steep admission fees, particularly for a group of six.




answered on 12/7/14 by
a VT member

We're probably going to end up booking two rooms instead of one, I found a sleep inn in Long Island that's around $100/night and only 5 minutes away from a subway station. Thank you! I appreciate the feedback!




answered on 12/7/14 by
a VT member

From Texas by air to LGA, it was a last minute trip decision. There's really no set price for budget but I would like to save money wherever I can. What would be some top free places to visit?

Thank You!




answered on 12/7/14 by
a VT member from Bristol

check out great deals on airbnb.....great site where you can rent out a entire appartment




answered on 12/7/14 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Definitely no need for a car.

Free places:

Central Park

Staten Island Ferry

Metropolitan Museum (the donation is a donation...you are not required to actually pay anything)

The High Line

[original VT link]

St Paul's Chapel

[original VT link]

The Irish Hunger Memorial

[original VT link]




answered on 12/7/14 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

Agree that the one thing you absolutely do not want in NYC is a car: public transit is good, traffic is not, and parking fees will only add to your expenses.

Hotel rooms for 6 people will also be a challenge: especially so at this late date, and with an expectation of budget rates. I would suggest entering your dates and other info (number of adults, number of children, ages of children) into the Manhattan hotel search of booking .com and see what comes up. Reviews of accommodations on that site are trustworthy:

booking.com/district/us/new-...




answered on 12/7/14 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

Ben, this is one city I probably would not use airbnb for as the vast majority of holiday rentals are considered illegal.




answered on 12/7/14 by
a VT member from Long Island

apartment rentals thru airbnb and vbro are considered illegal in new york for less than one month unless
1-the owner remains in residence, or
2-3 or less units.
however from your post it appears you have selected a hotel, presumably in long island city ( not long island ). good choice. if we know the hotel in question, we can advise you better. multiple subway lines traverse long island city, all entering manhattan in the midtown area and connecting with multiple other subways. there are also public transportation options by bus and subway - quite economic since you will be buying a metrocard for the bus and subway systems anyway. if this interests you, let us know where your hotel is located and we can get you to the best ( of the three ) main subway lines in the area.

lic is not far from lga, the taxi fare will not be that high. but with six people you might consider hiring a car service which may be even cheaper. frequently used companies include carmel and dial7. check their websites for discount coupons.




answered on 12/7/14 by
a VT member from Long Island

In NYC, you don't need to rent a car. You will get by perfectly using public transportation (buses, subways, etc). As for hotels, the safest are in the theater district between 42nd and 50th Street. However, prices are not cheap and during the holidays, prices do go up, regardless of where you are.

As for top 5 places, these are the top iconic must see/do attractions in NYC, expecially first timers.:

1. Empire State Bldg Observation Deck. This offers unparalleled views of the city and kids of all ages love it.

2. American Museum of Natural History. Near the top of every list, this museum is a magnet and its Dinosaur Halls are amongst the best in the world, if not the entire world.

3. Statue of Liberty. A visit here to see lady liberty has to be one of those iconic things to see and do.

4. Metropolitan Museum of Art

5. Rockefeller Center and the Xmas Tree. (This time of year)




answered on 12/7/14 by
a VT member from Brooklyn

Airbnb/apartment is not a good idea in NYC. Legal issues and scam issues. Do not go that route.

A hotel in LIC is a good option as it is a short distance to the upper east side on Manhattan.

No need for a car at all. Use the subway. A 7 day unlimited Metrocard for each person is $31. Children under 44" ride free. You may feel that you will be here for less than 7 days, but if you use the subway 13 times, you will be better off vs paying per ride. It is a GREAT deal. Also good on the NYC buses.

Are you referring to next week?
Some good suggestions so far. I will include(may have already been listed):
-Staten Island ferry gets you a view of the Statue of Liberty at a distance.
-Rock Center for the Xmas tree.
-South Street Seaport/Bryant Park
-Grant Central(there is also a pretty good food court on the lower level.)
-Take the subway to High Street/Brooklyn bridge in Brooklyn. Check out the view from the Brooklyn Promenade and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge towards the city.
-Central Park.
-Xmas lights at the major department stores(Saks/Bloomingdale's/Macy's/Lord & Taylor/Bergdorf/etc.)
-Some of the major museums are "pay what you can." Just Google the major ones and note the pricing. You can get into a museum at a limited cost if that is of interest to your family.




answered on 12/8/14 by
a VT member from Bracknell

You certainly don't need to hire a car in Manhattan - the traffic is pretty nightmarish and I can't imagine parking is easy. Take the subway, or the iconic yellow taxis if you need which are pretty reasonably priced by big city standards.

My impression was that NYC is much more like a european city now in terms of atmosphere and safety - that was in great part due to mayor Giuliani's policies - big city precautions apply like watch your pockets, keep to busy areas - but even the subway from Little Italy at midnight was no more intimidating than London. Loads of hotels in midtown, but none particularly cheap!

Must sees - Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; Empire state building; Rockefeller center; i enjoyed the baseball at Yankee stadium (but I'd never been before as I am a limey!) Chinatown




answered on 12/8/14 by
a VT member from New York City

With 6 people, I would share a taxi, there are larger mini vans that can accommodate. Sharing the cost would be less expensive, it would save time as the driver would know where to take you & with kids and luggage it's sane! Renting a car & parking in Dec. is very expensive & not necessary. My transportation ideas are on Virtualtourist.com [original VT link]

I live in NYC with teens. On my Virtualtourist NYC page I listed some of our faves: [original VT link]

Don't worry about safety; enjoy! Andrea




answered on 12/8/14 by
a VT member from New York City

The maximum number of passengers a taxi can take is 4 or 5, depending on the size of the taxi. They can take another passengers if that passengers is under 7 years old and rides on the lap of a passengers in the back seat. So you'll either need two yellow cabs, or hire a private car to take you all. Of course, you'll need room for your luggage.
http://www.carmellimo.com/
http://www.dial7.com/

But more important is where you're planning to stay. If you're arriving next week, that's the first priority!




answered on 12/8/14 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I've seen large yellow van-type taxis too (PSVs or 'people-carriers' as we call them in the Uk, vehicles which can normally carry 6/7 passengers) lining up with the ordinary taxis outside JFK. I assume dispatchers can call them if required.




answered on 12/9/14 by
a VT member from New York City

The largest yellow taxi carries 5 passengers, but most carry 4.
nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/faq/fa...




answered on 12/9/14 by
a VT member from Park City

See if there is a shuttle to your hotel and back to the airport.




answered on 12/9/14 by
a VT member from Long Island

If you can find one of the SUV taxis, the whole family can go in it.




answered on 12/9/14 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

No doubt those are the ones I have seen at JFK each time I've visited, waiting in the dispatcher's line.




answered on 2/12/15 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Welcome to VT, Kiwibox. ASha23's trip took place between 10th and 17th December.






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a VirtualTourist member from Montreal asked on Dec 24, 2014

New York City

First time going with sister,mom

Hi [VT member 93f85] ! I'm leaving from Toronto on Christmas Day by bus(megabus) to NY. I booked by hotel from Hotwire where they tell you the hotel name after it is booked, I got the Sheraton Lincoln harbor in Weehawken NJ, good price. Can anyone suggest easiest way to get to shopping areas Manhattan? First time for us, so any suggestions or recommendations would be great. Where to eat (pizza), places to see ? Thank you!
Nadia .



5 Answers


answered on 12/24/14 by
a VT member from Manhattan Island

From Weehawken, there are few options. But this Sheraton (I stayed here before) has a shuttle that brings you to the ferry so you can cross the Hudson. At the New York (Manhattan) side, the ferry company has free busses into the city. I'd look for the lines that go alongside 42nd street (towards Times Square) and maybe even more for the one that goes along 34rd street: that one brings you to Macy's, Victoria Secret and about 100 more stores near Herald Square. Don't forget to grab a Belgian Waffle at Wafels and Dinges on that square!
Don't get tempted to use a taxi between your hotel and Manhattan, you might end up with a taxi fare that's higher than the actual hotel rate you obtained.
From Herald Square, you can take the subway towards Union Square (N,Q,R downtown) to grabe affordable food (try the restaurants in 13th street, such as Souen or Maisin du Crique Monsieur to eat for under $15 or go towards the East Village (the F train is the better option, exit at 2nd avenue) to visit cheaper stores and find more vintage items. Enjoy!




answered on 12/24/14 by
a VT member from Fort Worth

Adding to the above info, from the ferry you can easily get on the subway (the red 1), just follow the signs out and down. Take it and get off at 34th St. Penn Station and you'll be by Macy's. The subway will be a lot faster.




answered on 12/24/14 by
a VT member from Montreal

Hey thanks lot, those are some really good tips. I will try the waffles for sure! I will have to get the hang of the busses and subways.




answered on 12/24/14 by
a VT member from Montreal

Il be arriving at 7th Ave & W 28th St at night (10pm) what's the fastest and safest way to get to my hotel at sheraton Lincoln harbor, I know a taxi will be very costly. Please help! As I'm leaving tomorrow. Thanks :)




answered on 12/24/14 by
a VT member from Montreal

Thank you for ur response, really appreciate it






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a VirtualTourist member asked on May 17, 2015

New York City

Advice/Tips on visiting New York City?

Hi there. I'm visiting NYC for four days next week. It's my first time in the Big Apple & I'm wondering if anyone has any tips, given the fact that I'm a rather anxious person. Any tips for anything would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.



11 Answers


answered on 5/17/15 by
a VT member from Miami

Hello and welcome to VT.

Perhaps you can share a bit more about yourself with us.
Interestes? Likes/Dislikes? Main objective? When you say anxious, how so?
Divide and conquer is your best bet. One day I'd devote to the hop on/off double decker bus - great way to see the city and get some insight. You can get off at locations which may interest you, stroll a bit and get back on and continue on.
I'd devote one entire day to Times Square area, Theaters, etc.
One day to walk and stroll through Central Park and visit the MOMA and Museum of Natural History
Another day to visit Battery Park, Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, Financial district, etc.

These are but some suggestions.
You can also visit our various members NY pages and guides.

I love NY, none other like it - only behind Hong Kong which I think is like NYC on steroids!




answered on 5/17/15 by
a VT member from Sydney

Good reply from Homer

New York.......is really not that much different to all the big world cities. Just be careful with your possessions and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Its a huge city, but the subway is quite safe and easy to use once you get the hang of it. There are information booths on all subway stations. Ask.

I love walking, so I really enjoy Central Park........I also love Greenwich Village

Anyway, here is my take on New York. Scroll down page for tips etc

Ellis Island was, for mr, very personal and very moving

[original VT link]




answered on 5/17/15 by
a VT member from Sydney

Ha ha Homer.......strangly enough, I found that KOLKATA reminded me of NYC. Same crowds, a bit of same " we don't need tourists' attitude, and everyone just rushes along doing their thing and minding their own business.




answered on 5/17/15 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I felt much the same on my first visit. NYC is not somewhere I would have chosen to visit but I have to do so at least once a year.

I find the city huge, noisy, crowded and sometimes rather grubby but I don't feel actively unsafe there. I use normal city commonsense but, because I am a solo middle-aged female, am probably more wary about where i go and what I do than i might be if I had a companion. I trust my instincts.

I've used both buses (not the hop-on buses) and the subway to get around, though I've mainly walked and walked.

I haven't time to write more now, but I do recommend that you walk the High Line if you can. It's a very pleasant walk indeed, well away from the city hustle and bustle:

[original VT link]

and do take the free Staten Island ferry for views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan shoreline.

I've tended to write about less-visited places I've been to on my visits but you might find something of interest on my NYC pages:

[original VT link]




answered on 5/18/15 by
a VT member from Ealing

I would say, relax and enjoy. NYC is possibly my favourite city but it is a bit manic and can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you're not used to big cities. It's best not to fight it but just let yourself be a bit swept up in it all. But if you need to chill, Central Park is wonderful. Grab a sandwich from a deli and go picnic and people watch for a couple of hours.

My New York page has lots of ideas about things to see and do: [original VT link].

I especially recommend the Lower East Side Tenement Museum if you want to get an idea of the city's past: [original VT link] and http://www.tenement.org/ (but be sure to book in advance)

And the Top of the Rock, both by day ([original VT link]) and at night ([original VT link])

Also, leave time in your schedule just to wander. I like the West Village and Meatpacking District and of course Greenwich Village is a must!




answered on 5/18/15 by
a VT member from Belgrade

Central Park is just perfect in spring! I just got back from NY and Central park is my favorite place to be. Also, Staten Island Ferry is very cool. It is free, so there is no reason not to go :)




answered on 5/18/15 by
a VT member from New York City

The weather has been beautiful, next week should be perfect. There are hundreds of wonderful tips on VT that cover the gamut at all price points; you came to the right place.

If you are rather anxious, I suggest that you avoid traveling during the morning or afternoon rush hour. Get started after 9:00 AM and be in a museum, park or site from 4 until 6 in the afternoon. Study the MTA map and locate the sights you must see in advance. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time, enjoy!




answered on 5/18/15 by
a VT member from Brooklyn

I agree with the first post:
"Interestes? Likes/Dislikes? Main objective? When you say anxious, how so?"

-First tip is to buy yourself a Metrocard for use on the subway and buses. Get yourself a 7 day unlimited card for $32(including the cost of the card) and you can ride the subway/buses as much as you wish. if you use the subway 13 times, it pays to get the 7 day card vs paying as you go.
-If you plan to visit the Statue of Liberty/Broadway shows/9/11 Memorial Museum, you need to try to get tickets NOW. They sell out months in advance.
-Study the subway map as someone noted. The subway is a very inexpensive and easy way to get around the city.
-Get an early start every day so that you can maximize you time in NYC. get out and just explore many of the places already mentioned.
-Depending on your budget, you can eat at "high end" places or at places that won't "break the bank." NYC has loads of places to eat within your budget.
-Ask if you feel you are unsure where to go/walk/etc. Just stop someone and ask. Especially if you are on the subway. You can't get lost. But don't just "think" you are going in the right direction if you are not sure.
-NYC is a busy city. People walk fast. Order(at stores, etc) fast. Etc. Be prepared for that.
-Remember that NYC includes not only Manhattan but 4 other boroughs. Take the train into Brooklyn and explore DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights/Boerum Hill/Brooklyn Bridge Park & the Brooklyn promenade and the great views of the NYC skyline. Then walk the Brooklyn Bridge back towards the city.
-Central Park/Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park/Prospect Park(in Brooklyn) are great places to go and wander around.
-Check the weather 2 days before you arrive so that you pack the right attire.
-Times Square is a must see at night for a first time visitor. You don't need to eat there however. head further up towards Hell's Kitchen for some of the best places to eat in NYC.
-As noted, give yourself time to wander. Don't have a schedule that has you running from A to B to C.
-Make a list of places that you have to see/visit, and would like to see. Start there.

Respond if you wish any more specific advice from the members.




answered on 5/18/15 by
a VT member from Rhode Island

I live only 3 hrs. from NYC. I still go in for small doses. I like to concentrate on one area, section, event, etc. Too much to do all at once. Museums are wonderful...or Central Park...Ellis Island...Little Italy...East Village... Try to keep your focus.




answered on 5/18/15 by
a VT member from Brooklyn

Also know(if you are not from the US) that Monday(if you will be here on Monday) is a national holiday...Memorial Day.

Most everything that you wish to see/do will be open. Banks however will not.




answered on 5/20/15 by
a VT member from Charlotte

Visit Empire State Building (once oldest and still best), Time Square and shops, Central Park, Wall Street, Statue of Liberty, double decker Washington bridge/Manhattan Bridge/Brooklyn Bridge, Madame Tussuads wax museum, Biggest Toy-r-us, Coney Island






Here's a related discussion:



a VirtualTourist member asked on Jun 28, 2015

New York City

Tips new york

I'm travelling to New York for the first time,can anyone give me an idea of how many dollars per day for food and drinks breakfast and dinner midrange and can any tell me how much a taxi is from jfk to midtown, and just any general helpful tips thanks



9 Answers


answered on 6/28/15 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

There is a 52USD flat rate charge for taxis from JFK to Midtown, to which you must add tip and possibly tolls:

panynj.gov/airports/jfk-taxi...

I always stay in Midtown. The last time I used a taxi, in 2013, I gave the driver 60USD and he was perfectly happy with that. Last year I used the Airtrain and then the Long Island Railway, which is a heck of a lot cheaper (around 12USD, as I recall) and very easy indeed. I'll be doing that again later this summer.

[original VT link]

But I took a taxi from JFK on my first few trips to NYC and do understand why you might want to. Make sure you go to the taxi dispatcher in Arrivals (it's very obvious) and wait your turn for a proper yellow taxi. Do *not* take up any offers made by the rogue taxis who hang around.

No-one can really tell you how much money you'll need. It all depends on your personal tastes and preferences, and on what you want to do. I always walk as much as I can in NYC, only using buses and subway when it's essential. I always choose a hotel with breakfast included and I'd find it hard to spend even 100USD per day.... but I don't eat huge amounts, I don't drink lots of alcohol and I don't 'do' shopping. And I tend not to visit places which have entrance fees, go to shows etc. I'm me and you're you, and everyone varies. And that's why it's hard to give even an estimate.

To be honest, I haven't found the US to be much cheaper than the UK (I'm guessing that's were you are from by your username). Remember that almost every meal (other than fast food & takeaways) has to have a tip added 20% or so, and that prices on display in shops do not include taxes (they are added at the till). The same applies to your accommodation: taxes will be added when you checkout.

There are lots of free things to do in NYC (including the Staten Island Ferry, which imo is a must) so you could in theory, spend very little indeed (like me!).. Alternatively, you could spend a lot. It really depends on you and on what you do.

You may find the info and tips on my NYC pages helpful. As I said, I'm from the UK and have been making the trip for the past few years:

[original VT link]




answered on 6/28/15 by
a VT member from Brooklyn

When are you coming(some months in NYC are much more expensive than others hotel wise)?
How long are you staying?

-Flat rate + tip in a NYC taxi from JFK to Manhattan is $65-$70(that includes going back to the airport.)
-There are less expensive ways to get from the JFK to the city is $ is an option.

-Depending on how long you are staying, get yourself a 7 day unlimited Metrocard for the subway/buses. It's a great deal. $31 + $1(for the card.)

-Food varies.

  • You can get a bagel with eggs/cheese/tomatoes(one of my go to sandwiches for breakfast) for under $5. Add a bottle of water or orange juice for appr $2.
  • You can eat at one of the thousands of screen vendors around the city of have a $300 burger. Chicken/lamb w/rice from one of the vendors is appr $6.
  • NYC also has deli type places throughout the city. Lower Manhattan(as well as other places throughout the city) is loaded with food carts(Wall Street area/9/11 Memorial area/etc.)
  • Same with dinner. You can eat at a restaurant or grab some takeout. Prices vary.
  • Note that at sit-down restaurants(non Mcdonalds type), you will also need to include a tip when you pay for your meal.

-Use the subway to get around the city. It is inexpensive and efficient.
-Make a list of places/attractions that you wish to see.
-Book tickets for attractions such as the Statue of Liberty/9/11 Museum/Broadway shows in advance. They can sell out at any time.
-Get familiar with the NYC subway map:
web.mta.info/maps/submap.htm...

-Ask someone if you need help getting from A to B or if you need any information. NY'er are very friendly and helpful.




answered on 6/28/15 by
a VT member from Hanoi

I save by taking the train in from JFK - take the Airtrain from all terminals and connect (Jamaica) to the LIRR into Grand Central Terminal at West 34th Street (midtown). I believe the train connection is $12.-$15.

America's most expensive city!




answered on 6/28/15 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

4000USD for 5 nights in February is around 250GBP per day for two people. I don't think you'll have any real problems with that sort of budget...though it all depends on how much shopping you intend to do, of course. But I assume you'll have a credit card if you need to buy more stuff?




answered on 6/28/15 by
a VT member

Thanks for your help




answered on 6/28/15 by
a VT member from Leonardtown

That would be $400/day each for food, transport and sight-seeing. If your hotel doesn't have to be paid for out of that, then it should be plenty.

There are cheap and free things to do in NYC, but sometimes there is something that isn't free that might be a desired thing to do/see. For instance if I were going to NY, I would want to see a show or go to see the Rockettes. Last time I went, I wanted to visit Ellis Island because I was with my grandson who wanted to look up his ancestors coming to the US. He had never been to NY and we had lunch (cheaper at lunch) at the revolving restaurant which gave us an overview of the skyscrapers. And we took him to Broadway because that was something he wanted to see.




answered on 6/29/15 by
a VT member from Brooklyn

    • 5 nights in febuary I was thinking of taking 4000 dollars that's for shopping attractions sit down breakfast and dinner every night?**

Yes. You should be fine.

Another tip(s)...get an early start every day if you plan on having a sit down breakfast. Many people just grab a sandwich to go in the morning.

Also, when using the subway:
-Let the people off the train before you get on.
-No bags, etc on empty seats.
-When exiting the station, don't stop at the top/bottom of the stairs trying to get your bearings.
-When using escalators(anywhere), stay to the right going up or down. The left side is the "express' side and people will be walking up/down.
-Have your Metrocard out before getting to the turnstile.




answered on 6/29/15 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Exactly the same behaviour as when one uses the Tube in London or any Metro system in mainland Europe. And it's equally irritating for local residents when visitors don't follow the 'rules'. :-)




answered on 6/29/15 by
a VT member from Brooklyn

I see that you are coming in Feb. One of the very cool NYC events is the Chinese New Year celebration down in Chinatown. Feb 8 next year.

There is a fireworks display as well as parades and the streets are closed to traffic. It's a GREAT event to be a part of. Dress warm and just go and be a part of a great cultural event.

The main parade and fireworks happen 2-3 days apart.





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